The opioid epidemic. Epidemic is defined as something that spreads rapidly among people in a community, most commonly related to a disease. For the past year I’ve been confused as to how people making a decision to take a drug and then get addicted to the drug, can be labeled as an epidemic? Even politicians believe conscious decisions by human beings can now be categorized as epidemic behavior. We have entered a new era where an unwanted behavior can be blamed on an “epidemic”. I thought an epidemic was when some disease is forced upon people? I did not know that people could be forced to become addicted to drugs?
What separates the taking of opioids from other human addictions? So what is next? The marijuana epidemic? The pornographic epidemic? I don’t recall anyone ever saying there was a poverty epidemic in the United States despite there being thousands of people who need food every day. Even though I see homeless people downtown, on street corners and entrances/exits ramps of highways I don’t recall the news talking about the homeless epidemic.
The use of the term opioid epidemic appears to be related to people wanting us to care about those in the majority who unfortunately get addicted to opioid medications. When social programs existed to feed and house people the response was, people should get jobs and make money to take care of themselves. Why not the same response now? People should be cautious and not get addicted to opioid medications. What is the difference in saving someone from medications versus saving someone from a life of poverty? Are not both caused by systemic issues?
I especially cringe when politicians talk and support legislation to assist those with opioid addictions. It seems like selective choosing of whom to assist. If the people impacted look more like you, there seems an inclination to want to support them. Call it reverse welfare. Yes, I have compassion for those who are suffering due to addictions. But the key is not to help them after they get addicted. The key is to provide information that tells people in advance to avoid specific human choices that may lead to their being addicted to either a substance or to some type of behavior. The medical community should share the burden in resolving this “opioid crisis”. Are they not the source of the problem?
So now we are in the epidemic era. What’s next? With the events of the weekend maybe someone will identify a “hate epidemic”. Come on people. It’s about bad choices we make.